Shamefully, I need to start by confessing that it’s only been about a year since I started taking an interest in the “smart growth” development of our town. It started with the city’s plans to remove all the trees at the old Group Health Hospital site. It seemed to me that if they could build a hospital around all the trees, they should try a little harder to save some of them during this current redevelopment project. From there, I looked at the proposed light rail coming to Redmond, the high-density housing that we’re seeing in the downtown area, zoning changes and public domain parameters; in short, just about all of the “sustainable” development plans encountered in Redmond’s “Vision For 2030.”
I’m somewhat disappointed in the direction the City Council is taking our town. All I see as I look closer to the master plan is less freedom to do as I please as an individual, and “community rights” taking precedence over individual rights, just as our founding fathers warned us against.
Our City Council has adopted a growth plan that was developed by the United Nations several years ago titled Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. It is quite literally the United Nations’ agenda for the 21st century. Agenda 21 is a plan for not only Redmond, but for our state, our country and, yes, believe it or not, the very planet on which we live. These guidelines are being used to change our town, not for the benefit and comfort of our citizenry, but to conform to a model developed by an international forum that has absolutely no right to exert its unwanted influence on us. It has been adopted by not only Redmond, but also the Puget Sound Regional Planning Council and the King County Regional Council. We’re allowing these regional councils to rubber-stamp United Nations Agenda 21’s global plan for the future development of our country, our state and, yes, even our very own neighborhood communities.
This plan has some environmental qualities that are desirable and I support them, but when you look behind the scenes at the full scope of this plan, it’s taking our precious liberties from us. Big-time liberties, like the ones found in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Now you see, that doesn’t matter to the United Nations or even most of the rest of the world, but our nation was built on the rights found in these documents, and because our parents and their parents honored and respected them, we grew and prospered as a nation like no other country in the existence of the world. Our local city government should be fighting to maintain control and sovereignty over local issues, but in so many cases we merely comply with the directives of a regional council that represents a layer of government that isn’t for the most part needed, or as some might suggest, even legal.
I may or may not live to see our town in the year 2030, but if I do, I hope I’m not living in one of those tiny apartments downtown where bicycles are the primary form of inner-city transportation. Now, don’t get me wrong. Bikes are great for the people who want and can use them, but you’re taking away my choice. I’ll be too old to ride a bicycle to the market, and my car by then will be a thing of the past. By the way, on the issue of cars and apartments, did you realize that our planners failed to provide a parking space for even one car per apartment in all of these new buildings downtown? Also, because just about every single one of those new apartment buildings have been designated non-smoking (both in and out of your own apartment), I guess I’ll have to take the light rail out to the city limits to enjoy my evening cigar in the newly “designated smoking area.”
Sounds preposterous, doesn’t it? Well, just check out our town’s website www.redmond.gov and see what’s being planned by the special interests that you never even knew lived here. Actually, most of them don’t live here, they’re just trying to have Redmond conform to every other town in America. If you want to see the even bigger picture, take a few minutes and go to www.un.org and search Agenda 21. If that’s what you want for the Eastside and the rest of our country, just sit back and watch, because it won’t take too much longer.
If it’s not what you want Redmond to be, you’ll need to do something to make a difference, and I hope this stirs up a few of you seniors out there, because it’s payback time. We’ve taken all the good stuff that Redmond had to offer, but we haven’t protected it and now it’s all disappearing from the landscape.
Look at those websites, and if Redmond’s vision isn’t what you think it should be, pick a place to start, attend a City Council meeting and SAY SOMETHING! Keep saying it, and if you do make a difference, someday you may get your name on a park bench. If you try but don’t succeed, at least your neighbors and your kids will know that you’re not one of those “go along to get along” people that you used to be.
Peter Rogerson is a Redmond resident.